Looking to join the ranks of pet parents?

Great decision pets are wonderful companions that contribute immensely to our physical health and mental well-being. As you begin your search, use a little E.S.P. to make choosing, and living with, your new best friend a breeze.

Evaluate: First you need to carefully evaluate what kind of pet would work best for your family and lifestyle. Can you handle a high-maintenance pet, such as a dog, or would you do better with one requiring less attention, like a guinea pig? How much time will you have to spend with your pet? If you work long hours away from home, you will either need to opt for an animal that can thrive with limited daily interaction or arrange for day care or pet-sitting to compensate for your absence.

How much room do you have for a pet? Obviously, higher-energy pets require more room. Do you have young children? If so, consider waiting until your children are school-aged before adding a high-maintenance pet to your home. Keep in mind pets that require more care from you on a daily basis are typically more expensive in terms of annual upkeep, but they also provide the most potential for an interactive relationship!

New advances in veterinary medicine mean better care for your pet, but they can also mean higher costs for you. Consider purchasing pet insurance or starting a savings account for your pets health care needs.

Search: Once you’ve chosen the type of pet that will best fit your life, the search begins for the right individual. If you decide, for example, that a Labrador retriever is the perfect pet for your active lifestyle,do you want a puppy or an adult? Cute puppies appeal to our parental instincts but require a tremendous amount of patience and care. Older pets might require slightly less initial training but may have other special needs.
The decision to buy a young pet vs. adopting an older one is a choice that only you can make. When your decision has been made, find the most reputable sources possible for obtaining your particular pet. Veterinarians, groomers, trainers and other pet owners can often help you.

Prepare: Plan and organize in advance. This will save you a good bit of last-minute scrambling and, more importantly, may save your new buddy’s life. The wellbeing of your new pet is of primary importance. For the purposes of safety, consider anywhere your pet might go as part of his home. Get down on your pets level and look around. Anything toxic or dangerous to chew on should be moved or made inaccessible. Any personal items, such as socks and shoes, and anything edible should be put out of reach. Once your pets home is safe, select appropriate food, treats and toys. Decide where your pet will sleep and obtain any needed containment devices and bedding. Figure out where you want your new pet to use the bathroom and set up the area accordingly. Finally, do a quick mental run-through and buy anything else you might need, such as identification collars or leashes.

When all the work is done…Enjoy your Special Pet!